I get couples coming to me, saying that they haven’t addressed the issues they have been struggling with, and when I ask them the reason for that they often come up with the following reasons.
- ‘We are getting on so well and we’re not arguing, so I don’t want to cause an argument’
- ‘I don’t want to rock the boat’
- ‘There never seems to be a good time’
- ‘I am worried he/she will get angry’
- ‘I am concerned about the response I might receive’
I find this particularly frustrating as we have probably been working together for a while and we have worked together on techniques that will help to tackle the conversation in a better, more constructive way.
If you don’t tackle the issues, the very next time it comes up, you will both return to your fall-back position. Back into your old patterns, and you will be back to square one. The next time that issue rears its ugly head – which you will – you are going to do the same thing you did before – and you are going to get the same results.
Which means that you are both going to be unhappy, questioning whether you should be staying together.
Here are some others that people use.
- ‘As soon as I bring that subject up my partner starts crying, they get upset , and I hate seeing them upset.’
- ‘My partner gets angry. and I can’t bear that anger ‘
- ‘My partner walks out of the room, saying it’s not the right time, or they have nothing to say about it’
Great avoidance techniques! Well done, you have avoided facing the issues and can happily feel justified it’s not your fault.
‘If I get angry then you’re not going to push my buttons you’re not going to come near me. Then we don’t have address the problems’. ‘If I cry you’re not going to talk to me about it, I am off the hook, I don’t have to face something that is uncomfortable’. I am sure when reading this you will deny that it happens in your situation. But I will challenge you.
Because why else would you or your partner behave in that way? Why would either of you do it otherwise ? Why would you both not sit down and talk about the problems in an adult way?
I recall as a child my mother used to get unwell, she used to suffer asthma attacks, and it was really scary for me to see her having an attack. But if something wasn’t working for her, if something wasn’t going her way, she had an asthma attack. Then everyone in the family used to back off, try and do everything and everything we could to make her feel better so that the attack subsided quickly. But, interestingly, as a result, she got her own way. Now I’m not saying she did it on purpose, as asthma is very unpleasant and scary. But the end result was that I was always walking on eggshells, worried about upsetting my mother, trying to please and placate her. If I was upset or unhappy, felt that something was unjust or unfair, I didn’t feel as though my problems and issues were dealt with.
So, have a think about the diversionary tactics you use so that you don’t have to face problems. Because if you carry on doing that they will never be resolved. You will never deal with them. You’ll never sort it out. it will just continue and that will result in you both of you feeling very, very unhappy.